This past weekend Chelsea and I were invited to tag along with a group of friends as they headed up toward Syracuse to make their own wine. Sounds fun right? We were definitely in, although a little unsure what the process was all about. The place we went to is Lakeland Winery and its not your traditional winery. When I usualy think of a winery I picture a small building in the front to push the wine on customers, a big barn or cellar in the back for holding and manipulating the wine, and at the very least some nearby fields – this place had none of those. It was located not too far from the fairgrounds in a small building.
Luckily we found the place and the owner/winemaker was more than willing to let us try a few bottles before deciding what we wanted.
Actually he took us down to the basement where there were hundreds of styles of wine we could choose from. They all came in small bottles and we each got to pick one and bring it upstairs for further tasting. We picked 14 different bottles of wine. That was a healthy tasting session. After much deliberation we finally settled on a few to make.
This is just a sample of all the different carboys they had going.
The process of making wine here is very similar to how I make beer. We add grape juice to a bucket, bring it up to volume with water, add some yeast and other flavorings and wait for fermentation. Above, some of the guys are having a wine pouring contest.
This place basically orders kits of wine (juice, and all the extras) from suppliers and provides the equipment for the customer to make their own wine. The drawbacks to that type of winemaking are plenty, but most noticably the red wines aren’t fermented or even kept on their skins. That process gives wine “Tannins” which is what really makes red wine stand out. For this reason I can confidently say that for the wine kits, white >> red. We still had a great time, and will have to go back there in about 6 weeks to bottle our products. More on that later.